Drill breaks through to complete longest rail tunnel

Workers in Switzerland celebrated and waved flags as a drilling machine broke through the rock to complete the world's longest tunnel.

Workers in Switzerland celebrated and waved flags as a drilling machine broke through the rock to complete the world's longest tunnel.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, runs for 57km through the Alps, is expected to open for rail traffic in 2017.

Straighter and more level than the present Gotthard rail tunnel, the new base tunnel will be able to accommodate longer and heavier trains, doubling freight capacity on the route.

Although the tunnel is in non-EU Switzerland, it will form a key link in the European Union's planned Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), as part of a route between the ports of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Genoa in Italy.

Tunnelling work was divided into five sections, with Faido-Sedrun the last to be completed.

The Channel Tunnel connecting England and France is 50km long.

 

[image Reuters/Christian Hartmann]

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